MONKEY FEET: How My Vibram Five-Fingers Sprints Fared On Their First Hike

As a young girl and teenager, I loved being barefoot.  Running through the grass barefoot, running around the church grounds in Texas barefoot, running through the sand at Northern Bay Sands barefoot.  Even in recent years, I’d rather turn up the heat in my home than put socks on.  So imagine my delight when recently, while doing a google search on proper running form, I came across a bunch of websites and videos that told me that running barefoot or emulating barefoot running in regular running shoes was the best form for which to aim.  Hm?  Running barefoot?  I googled that.  And came across a ton of blogs talking about the Vibram Five-Fingers shoes.  Or as I like to call them: Monkey Feet.  Also known as: a way to be barefoot, but not.

I put them on my Wishpot List and waited.  No go.  Finally, I came across a blog last week that suggested looking for them on Craigslist.  So on Tuesday this past week I searched on Craigslist and found only one pair for sale.  It was the exact pair I wanted in the exact size that I needed.  I took that as a sign.

So I trotted (in my little blue car) over to West Hollywood and bought myself a pair of little blue shoes – the Vibram Five-Fingers Sprints.


I haven’t run in them yet but I’ve taken them to the movies (twice), to local cafes, and on several neighbourhood walks.  I love them.  I love being barefoot and I love not worrying about what I might be stepping in.  It really does feel like I’m barefoot!

On Thursday, I’d found a listing for a local trail in the hills just to the north of us and I wanted to try it out.  This morning, much to my husband’s chagrin, I wanted to go for an early morning hike and try it out.  I had no idea what we were in for.

Here’s a shot of the terrain.


Here are the pebbles that I would have thought would poke right through these tiny shoes!


But the VFF Sprints were total troopers.  In fact, they were better than sneakers, better than hikers, better than boots.  I felt like I was bouldering barefoot.  But protected barefoot.

My pat answer for people who ask what the shoes are for is, “To be barefoot, but not!”

And I really did feel like I was barefoot!  See how happy I am?


And even thought Ryan got more of a vertical assent than I’d promised, he was still happy to get in a hike!  Even surrounded by freeways.


But all in all, I’m very happy with my VFF Sprints.  I’ll let you know once I go running.  I’m still healing from having four teeth removed so it might be a few days yet.  Speaking of that, I was rarin’ for a morning jaunt because I’d sat around all day yesterday and felt quite stiff this morning.  After returning from the hike, my teeth ached worse just because the blood was running faster; but I don’t think it did me in too badly.

My teeth are still aching and feeling stiff and Jack Maatman, who’s workin’ on VFX with Ryan in the living room, says I’m a little swollen.  I still haven’t taken the meds. Perhaps in the morning?  They say Day 2 is sometimes the worst.  But once I’m all better, you might just see me trotting around in my new “barefoot but not” Monkey Feet.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Gillian, you’re so cute! I’m happy you’re enjoying your new shoes. You know I love being barefoot too but I have a terrible time with dry feet and being barefoot makes it worse. I have to limit sandal wearing, except for Crocs, they seem to help me hold moisture in. I wonder how these shoes work for that and also, what about smell? So amazing that you found the exact pair you wanted on Craiglist! Also, hope you recover quickly from the tooth removal pain. {{hugs}}

  2. gilliebean says:

    Wardeh, the coolest thing about these shoes (aside from the obvious) is that they are machine washable!! Then you air-dry them. They feel like wearing socks. I don’t suffer from dry feet so I’m not sure how I can compare my experience. I just know they feel great. I read a blog yesterday of a guy who wears toed socks with his VFFs. Perhaps that’s an idea? You’ll still get the barefoot effect.

  3. Angela says:

    what a great find!

  4. Congratulations on getting a good deal, and a good hike! I wouldn’t hike in anything else now (well, except I am also starting to develop a real fondness for my Feelmax Niesas).

    Regarding your socks question, I would highly recommend wearing toe socks in them. As you do longer distances you may find your feet chafing somewhere, or slimy/sticky/sweaty. My current favorites are the Injinji outdoor wool ones. They are quite thin and the wool, being a natural anti-bacterial, really help to keep the VFF stink to a minimum. Their coolmax are nice too, but of course don’t help the stink much.

    Enjoy the barefoot journey, and please, let us know how it goes for you!

    1. gilliebean says:

      Thanks for the socks suggestions Damien! I look forward to a continuing barefoot conversation. 🙂

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